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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

Midtown Humanity On Parade, Vol. 2

Submitted by on May 29, 2007 – 5:48 PM333 Comments

Little girl: Hi Mom, so guess what, at school today, after lunch? Dylan? Got a nosebleed.

Mom: Which Dylan?

What I love about that exchange: 1) to a child, a classmate's nosebleed is above-the-fold, 48-point-type, no-time-for-pleasantries breaking news; 2) the child in question has more than one "Dylan" in her class. What I love even more is how these two aspects become one, because from now on, the Dylan who got the nosebleed is…the Dylan who got the nosebleed. If Dylan invites this little girl to a pool party, her mother will no longer ask "Which Dylan?" or "Dylan R. or Dylan J.?", but rather, "Dylan who got the nosebleed?"

I have now typed "Dylan" so many times that it looks misspelled.

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  • Karen says:

    Never had too much trouble with my name. My sister, Joanna, was called Joey at home when we were very little. When she got to kindergarten, there were three boy Joeys in her class and her teacher refused to call her Joey. Because clearly she had no distinguishing characteristics from the other Joeys. Except for being a GIRL. Poor kid was traumatized, though she grew into the name so that by the time she reached high school, every time I answered the phone, I met with "hi'isjoannathere?" (one word)

    Of course, my friend who teaches high school in an urban area doesn't have a problem with multiple students of the same name. Most of his students insist that he use their street name or some other nickname to call on them. When he uses their given name to call on them, they protest "Yo man, why you usin' my government name?"

  • Laura says:

    Oddly enough, I went through all 13 years of public education and only met one other Laura, which apparently is a pretty common name. There were Laurens and Lauries and Loris galore, but no Lauras, so I've never had a nickname (though a friend's mother calls me "Laur" sometimes. Is that last "a" so difficult?).

    There were, however, six Christophers in my 3rd grade art class (in 1988). They all had to sit at the same table, so the teacher could just yell "Christopher!" in that direction, and they'd all shut up.

  • JMR says:

    I can't decide how I feel about the trend of spelling common/classic names in unusual ways. On the one hand, it's kind of an interesting way to give a modern twist to a classic name. I can see the logic behind it, but people really take it too far – they futz it up so much that it looks cutesie or like they just can't spell. I graduated high school in a class of 50 or so students, and we had an Amy, an Aimee, an Amie, and an Amii. I felt pretty bad for the Amie and the Amii – new teachers taking attendance were always completely baffled, because you see the name for the first time and it doesn't automatically click that it's a variation on Amy. I think the key is to avoid making it so unusual that nobody has any idea how the hell to pronounce it. If you think the kid's teacher is going to be all "Errr…. Aaaaaaam eeeeee?" – well, then you've gone too far.

  • Attica says:

    I went to grammar school with 5 Pattys. I don't know anybody that goes by that anymore. No babies, no grammas, no colleagues, nobody. Did all the Pattys disappear into the Patty Protection Program?

    Or are they all Trish now?

  • Deirdre says:

    I have yet to meet anyone who both spells and pronounces her name the way I do, although I have encountered a few variations.

    Most people assume it's "Deidre" like Deidre Hall, and pronounce it that way, which sets my teeth on edge like nothing else – the first "r" is not silent, people! Half the people in my office pronounce it that way and I get tired of correcting them after awhile.

    Slightly less common and less irritating are the people who think it's pronounced "Deardree" which at least shows they're able to read. I realize it's an uncommon name and I don't expect people to get it right the first time. If I've corrected you and you're still saying it wrong, though? That's just discourteous.

  • Kris says:

    My first name is common for both genders, and my last name sounds almost exactly like "emily." Because of the popularity of girls'-names-starting-with-K, I'm sure several people in my life have no idea if my name is Kris, Krista, Karen, etc. I will now answer to just about any name beginning with a K-sound, AND Emily. Just not "Krissy."

    But because of the gender-neutral thing, this is also how I became Kris the Girl. Thanks for noticing.

  • Katherine says:

    I only went to school with one other (K)Catherine but I can NOT get the majority of people to use "Katherine", even if it's how I introduce myself. Actually had one woman ask if she could call me something else – Kathy, Kate, Katie, etc. Everybody always wants to shorten it.

  • Brona says:

    I have never met another Brona, which I didn't like at all growing up, but I like it just fine now. I went to public school in the 70s with Jennifers, Vickies and Marys and then switched to a different high school, where I realized that practically all boys were named David (well, Dave).

  • Elizabeth says:

    Interestingly, I was one of only a couple of Elizabeths in my high school of 1800+. It just wasn't a popular name in Utah at the time, I guess, but we did have lots Hannahs, La(u)ras, Julie/Julias, and TONS of Kim/Kyms and Amy/Ami/Aimees.

    Still, my mom didn't exactly choose the best nickname for me. Yeah, I get I was named after Beth from Little Women, but once those Garbage Pail Kids came out, I was doooooooomed.

  • bristlesage says:

    My name is Nancy. I'm 28. It's a perfect name for my age group: everyone can spell it, everyone can pronounce it, and it's uncommon. I love my name.

    Funny, though. I went to a women's college of 750, only one other Nancy (but 11% Katherines or variants thereof). But 3rd through 12th grades were spend differentiating between me, Nancy W., and Nancy J.

    On the Dylan front: I have a niece and three nephews. Two of the nephews are named Dylan. We're taking to calling the younger one Dylan the Second, but I'm sure one of them will do something remarkable soon enough.

  • Lesley says:

    My son at one point had four friends named Zach. I hadn't paid much attention to this until I asked him who he wanted to invite for his birthday and he replied: "Zach, Zach, Zach, James, and Zach." That's Zach-from-church, Zach-from-school, Zach-from-Cub Scouts and Zach-from-down-the-street." Two of them have since moved, so we're down to two now. One of my daughters had an abundance of (male) Alexes among her friends, I can't remember all of them right now, but there was Tall Alex and Gay Alex and Dumb Alex (who I finally, grudgingly promoted to Alex Who Finally Got a Job) and at least one other, who may actually have been No, the Other Alex.

    Personally, while I've rarely been the only person around with my name, I'm usually the only one who has it spelled with a "y".

  • Susan says:

    I'm another Susan, but I have to say I only recall a couple others when I was in junior high and high school, none in elementary. However, now that I'm out in the working world, it's a much bigger problem. A few years ago I worked for a very large international company and there were 5 other Susan's *with my same last name*!! It made for great fun when I receieved notices for meetings or invitations for lunch in other cities and countries!
    The worst was when an expense cheque I was waiting for was sent to one of the other Susan's, and she cashed it! Apparently she figured it was just free money! That took a while to sort out I'll tell you!

  • Melissa says:

    I grew up in the 60s as the ONLY MELISSA ANYONE HAD EVER HEARD OF. Well, except for Joan Rivers' then-very-young daughter. My family called me Missy, then in college everyone called me by my last name, then out of college and in the work world, and newly married, I went back to Melissa. As I sit here typing this, there are three other Melissas within shouting distance of my office. At least I don't have to spell, or pronounce it, anymore…

  • Melissa says:

    In my close-knit extended family, out of 15 people we've got 2 Annes, a Dan and a Nan, 2 Nicks and 2 Vics. Can you imagine the chaos after a few bottles of wine?

    "And you GET renamed. One Jennifer in my class went by "J.W." for years,"

    My sis was one of 5 Jessicas in her 4th grade class. 2 of whom were Jessica B. The teacher went through the list of Jessica knicknames one day as the kids filed into class and re-named them all. When she exhausted the Jess, Jessie, Jessicas, she moved on to initials. My sister was re-christened JB. I loathed it! For years people would call the house asking for JB and I would tell them that there was no JB who lived there and hang up. When they'd call back all confused, I'd ask if they meant Jessica and then pass the phone along. Why yes I am passive aggressive, why do you ask?

    Myself, I was the only Melissa in my entire school until the 6th grade when another Melissa entered but we had different last initial and were in different classes so no big thang. Imagine my surprise when in my 7th grade homeroom there was not only another Melissa B. but this other Melissa had the same first 3 letters of my last name and the same middle initial so we were seated right next to each other in alphabetic order. We got each others schedules and report cards every semester until 10th grade when she moved.

  • Melissa from Illinois says:

    a p.s. to my post above:

    Just to bring this full circle: Had I needed a differentiator, I could also have been Melissa Who Gets the Nosebleeds. It was just my allergies coming into bloom, but…..damn.

  • John says:

    My mom wanted me to have a "normal, common" name — so she chose "John", which is the stereotype of common. Except that for people my age, it's just not. In all my years of schooling, I only ever had one other John in my class (and then only briefly), and in my first job, there wasn't another John in the entire company. Now there's a couple, but I still don't see it much.

  • Victoria says:

    I was pretty lucky that there was only one other Victoria all through grade school and high school – and she went by Vickie. So that was nice.

    In college, I was the only Victoria, but on our newspaper staff, there was a Virginia and Vanessa in addition to me, Victoria. Our advisor called us all Valerie or Veronica. It was weird, but funny.

    And now, there are 2 Victorias and 2 Vickie's on my team at work. The irony is that everyone automatically calls all of us "Vickie" but the two actual Vickies get last names… so it's Vickie Lastname1, Vickie Lastname2, Vickie, and Vickie. So us two Victoria's are always asking for clarification about which of us they mean (though we try to correct them, it never works).

    (And now, I apparently go by my email moniker which is my first initial followed by my last name. Sigh.)

    This is really interesting therapy.

  • Jill says:

    I never knew another Jill until college. Not that unusual a name so I don't know why that was!

    We tried to be not too trendy with our kids so they wouldn't be cursed with the last initial syndrome, but our son's name started to get popular a few years after he was born. So he's fairly unique for his age, but the others are nipping at his heels. We've never met another girl with DD's name, which rocks.

    My aunt has a unique name (my Grandma made it up), very pretty, but it means people misspell, mispronounce and misremember her name all the time. My in-laws have known her for 15 years and still don't know her name. Her own siblings don't even know how to spell it right. It's really not that hard, I think they just don't give a damn.

    And for Melissa (1 of 2) above, I'd double check Hannah and Ariana. I think they might both be pretty popular right now.

  • Jess says:

    Yeah, as a Jessica, I've never been the only one at school with my name. In first grade, there were 3 other Jessicas in my class (out of about 20 students!). We all quickly started using nicknames to help differentiate ourselves. I ended up going all the way through high school with 2 of them. We actually were pretty good friends. However, everytime I played pretend as a little girl, I always renamed myself Lisa. Don't know why I picked that one, maybe because I didn't know anyone with that name and thought it sounded exotic. Yeah, I know, Lisa is not exotic. What can I say? I was 8.
    In college, almost all of our guy friends were named Chris. I think at one point, we were hanging out with at least 5 at a time. The all went by last names or crazy nicknames like Woogy(from Something about Mary).
    My extended family is where it's the worst! I have 2 Susans(my mom and an aunt), 2 Kellys(an aunt and a sister-in-law), 2 Dougs(both uncles, but on different sides) and 3 Michaels(my dad, my brother, and my nephew). The Kellys get numbers, the Susans and Dougs get locations or spouse references and the Michaels get first and middle names or just middle names. It can be very confusing at Christmas time!!
    My daughter got a very original name, Avielle. For the most part, though, we just call her Avi. And yes, that is a Jewish boy's name. It still fits her better than any other name could've. We needed a name that would go well with our last name and be pronouncable in both English and Portuguese. I don't think she'll meet any other Avi's(at least not girls) in her school career but her babysitter at one point also had an Ava and an Avery. I expect she'll meet tons more of those names, they seem to be really popular nowadays.

  • Amanda says:

    When my mom named me, she thought Amanda was rather exotic and rare – and apparently, so did thousands of other mothers. I guess it was just "Amanda"'s turn in the cycle of popularity. However…
    There was also this song by the Rolling Stones (and a bit later, a John Hughes movie) in which my WHOLE NAME appears. And the song happened to come out BEFORE I was born, so, no, Mom, I don't quite believe you when you say I was named after Great-Grandma. Nor were you the only person to have this idea. There are thousands of women out there with my name – give or take a middle initial – and damn, can it get confusing/annoying/bizarre.
    Even so, it is pretty cool to have a song with one's whole name in it.

  • Christina says:

    I went to a private preschool. There were 8 kids, and 4 of them (50%!) were some variation on Chris. I came home the first day and informed my parents I was now Tina Lynn. And I was, until like 6th grade.

    And yet, I still get constant misspellings, because Christine is WAY more popular than Christina, at least in my generation (now there's Aguilera and Ricci and so on, so it's more common).

    I have a baby girl. We named her Elizabeth. At least there are plenty of nicknames to choose from.

  • Shyra says:

    I was born in 1963. I'm named after my aunt, born in 1942, who was named after a character on a radio soap opera, more or less (my grandmother had to guess at the spelling). Growing up, there was *never* another "Shyra" in my class. I was frequently asked to spell my name, and, as I was rather shy (yeah, Shyra – shy, yeah), it was trying. I'm no longer shy, and rather like my name.

    In 1967, my aunt named her own daugher "Tyra." That, too, was a very unusual name at that time. Both name are a bit more popular now, especially Tyra, though among a younger group, and generally among a different ethnic group than my cousin and me.

  • Karen (another one) says:

    I've managed not to run into too many people with my name until adulthood. Now the second-in-command of my grad department also has my name, along with my surrogate mother, but we manage ok.

    What's been troublesome for me is Elizabeth. At one point there was roommate Liz, officemate Liz (aka Other!Liz), coworkers Elizabeth, Beth, and Beth, officemate Liz's friend Liz, and usually at least one intern every semester with some Elizabeth-derived name. So, 7 Elizabeths, give or take. It made me long for the return of Betty or Betsy or Liza. Madness.

  • Elenor says:

    I grew up in Chicago where I never met another Elenor (or Eleanor as non-drunk parents may name their child), but when I went to a tiny rural town in North Carolina for high school there was an Eleanor IN MY GRADE. I was quite shocked. (Although, I spent my entire time in Chicago wishing I were named Jessica.)

    In college my roommate for two years was named Martha, I alwas joked that people who called and got our machine ("Hello, you've reached Martha and Elenor…") thought they misdialed and got the retirement home instead of a college.

  • Lisa says:

    Another Lisa here! I was named after Lisa on As the World Turns because, as my mom tells it, it was "so unusual." In 1965? Whatever. I was never, in 12 years of school, the only Lisa in class.

    My son is 13 — the Age of Jordan — and we know so many Jordans that we ran out of last initials and "Girl Jordan" that when he became friends with an African-American Jordan he became "Brown Jordan." ::sigh::

  • Amy says:

    When I was in kindergarten there were two Amy's and both of our last names started with M. So the teacher took the first two letters of each last name and we ended up becoming Amy Me and Amy Mo. I'm 34 now and my mother and sisters still call me Mo. Once when I worked in retail there was a young girl named Maureen who went by Mo, but everytime someone called her Mo I thought they were talking to me. When I explained that was my nickname, too, she said, "Oh, I've had this all my life." She was all of 16 so I said, "I've only had it since kindergarten but I'm much older than you so I trump you!"

  • Brigid says:

    Hey Heather!

    "Speaking of odd names, in school I knew of a guy named Thomas Thomas Thomas THE THIRD!!!! Can you imagine what his parents were thinking?!?"

    Are you from Syracuse, NY? There was a Thomas T. Thomas, III there who owned the Wellington House back until the 90s. Wondering if it's the same one!!

  • Kalen says:

    I hated my name growing up – it didn't help that my last name was also near unpronouncable to the uninitiated, beginning with a silent T and all. It also didn't help that all my siblings had what I considered "normal" names (Kathy (Kathleen), Matthew, and Ryan). I always wanted to be Elizabeth or Sarah. By the time I got to middle school, though, I loved having an unusual name, even if teachers were likely to try to pronounce it "Kaitlin" (you know, despite the lack of a t in my name as written).

    I've heard a lot more kids, particularly under 5, with the same pronunciation these days, though most are spelled differently. I do know of one little girl who was actually named after me, she must be almost 10 now.

  • Matthew E says:

    There were often a couple of other Matthews around, but never so many that it was inconvenient. There are a lot of them now, though; every other little kid getting yelled at in the grocery store is named Matthew.

    For such a common name, you'd think more people would be able to spell it, though. Two Ts, people, always two Ts. The only people who spell Matthew with one T? Are people not named Matthew.

  • Kristen says:

    My parents have told me they named me "Kristen" because they thought it was a unique name. Little did they know that at the same time, other parents were christening (ha!) Christines, Kristins, Kirstins, Kristys, and Christinas. My best friends growing up? Kristy and Kristy. Although I've noticed nowadays I don't really have to spell my first name anymore. More and more people are getting the "-en" right off rather than spelling it "-in." My daughters will have normal names: Elisabeth, Alexandria, or Abigail

  • cayenne says:

    My name has never been hugely common (Kimberley), and yet I still had a double in in my grade (often in my class) from kindergarten to HS graduation. It should have been easy to differentiate us as she preferred Kim and I most decidedly did not, but most teachers & other students always called me Kim as well, to my great annoyance. I've never understood how, if I introduce myself as "Kimberley", I'm automatically addressed as Kim, as if I must want to be called something else because all Kimberleys are either airhead cheerleaders or crazy bombers in soaps.

    I find it incredibly rude – if I introduce myself in a particular way, it should suggest to the relatively astute that it is a) a personal preference, and b) how I identify myself, so they should not call me something else. If they're going to change my name to suit themselves, they might as well go all the way and call me "Yo, Bitch", 'cos that's how I'm gonna act when they "Kim" me.

    As to baby-naming – this is not an activity I'm likely to engage in, but I've always preferred relatively traditional names (such as Caroline, Jocelyn, Victoria, Gabriel & Marcus), but not ones that are bordering on caricature (mostly girls' names – what, boys don't get crazy retro names? – like Sadie, Molly, Sophie or Madeline – all of which friends, relatives & acquaintances have saddled their unfortunate daughters with). Parents who name their kids after movie/TV characters, especially the SFF ones, always seem to be trying to say something about their own preferences, and nothing about their kids, who will probably legally change their names the day they turn 18. If you're tempted to name your kid Aragorn or Eowyn or T'Pal, go buy an action figure instead – it'll probably save you buckets on therapy and band-aids.

  • Jenny says:

    As a Jenny, I've spent most of my life convincing people that I'm not a Jennifer; there were already 2 Jennifers in my very small high school. One teacher in particular insisted on calling me Jennifer despite my numerous corrections. At this point I've given up and I just answer to Jennifer.
    I finally met another Jenny in my first year of university; having also tried the same convincing routine, she was called "Just Jenny" for her entire childhood.

  • Charity says:

    You'd think, being in the first half of my thirties, that Charity wouldn't be a terribly common name. However, there were three in my high school, the other two being two years behind me. There was even a point at which I suffered due to the reputation of one of them because the person involved didn't believe there could be another Charity at the same school at the same time. Hah.

  • I am limiting myself to three things, because otherwise I will go on for days. I really like the naming process and all things involved with it.

    1) My husband and I named our son Connor Ashley Pino, because we wanted something that referenced his dual heritage (I am Irish, my husband is Mexican), wasn't too strange, and would keep teachers and telemarketers from automatically assuming that he speaks Spanish. We also liked that "Ashley," though traditionally a boy's name, isn't commonly used for boys in the U.S. Other requirements: that the name be rhythmic, that the initials spell a word (shut up, it's only a mild form of OCD), and that the first name be utilitarian but also nice.

    2) The name we've chosen for a girl is Amanthis Elizabeth. It's a nice name; old-fashioned and pretty, but just different enough to be edgy and hip. (Or so I like to think.) The strangeness of "Amanthis" can be offest by shortening it to "Amy" if she so desires, and it's easy to pronounce. We haven't decided on a last name yet, because neither my last name nor my husband's sounds quite right.

    3) To those of you who have stories about being one of [x] people with your name in elementary school, I say pfah! I was one of four Sara[h]s in my fifth-grade class alone. I think there were ten or twelve of us in the entire school. Unfortunately, my last name is almost impossible to say without sounding really angry, so I spent a lot of time jumping and panicking. Huzzah! Thanks, Mom.

  • Jennifer says:

    I was one of four Jennifers — just in my homeroom. We probably had 15-20 in my whole high school class of about 300. My parents thought it was an unusual name, too.

  • Shotrock says:

    I dated a Jeff, who noted that, if you can't remember one of my girlfriend's names, just say "Jennifer" and you've got a 70/30 shot of being right.

    I was named Gillian because my dad is a proud Scot, and my American mom liked the lead character in the play/movie Bell Book & Candle (showing next week on TCM, check it out!). At my birth 40 years ago, the name was unusual and unique – but also, due to the hard "G" very close to Gilligan. THAT made elementary school extra fun!!

    I hated my name then – oh, how I wanted to be a Jennifer or Maria myself! – and love it now, like so many of us. What pisses me off as an adult is the disrespect shown to the pronunciation. I mean, you just meet me, you say Jillian, no problem – I correct you gently and off we go. But I have co-workers and other acquaintances who have known me for 3, 4 years and their attitude is: "Oh, my cousin/BFF/niece pronounces it Jillian, and I just can't keep it straight!" IT'S MY GODDAMM NAME, SAY IT RIGHT.

    At work, I have an ideal rsponse to these idiots. I explain that I'd appreciate them pronouncing my name correctly because it's a diversity issue. They goggle at me and I reply, "Because when we hire someone who is Chinese or Nigerian with an 'unusual' name, you make DAMN SURE you show them the respect of figuring it out, thanks much."

    In other news, I know people who named their 3 daughters Ashley, Courtney and Lindsay. The alliteration concluded with the birth of a boy, who was proudly yclept … John Thomas [Surname]. This would explain why he was the only one in nursery school with the NASCAR-driver-worthy nickname of J.T.

  • Genni says:

    I'm a Genevieve too, and not only did I have one in my grade at school, there was also one a year ahead of me with the same last initial. Our school only had 375 students, so it was really kind of ridiculous. Now, I just get a lot of "That's my grandma's (or great aunt's, or spinster sister's or whatever) name".

    My daughter ended up with a traditional saint name, only because at the last second, I re-evaulated saddling her with "Inana Alana Lynn" as her name.

  • Meres says:

    As a Meredith, I was fortunate enough to grow up (in the nineties, for the most part) as the sole bearer of my name in each of my schools. Sadly, this continues to severely limit me in terms of personal stationery and sparkly pens, because apparently there are still more Morgans than Merediths. Sigh.

    I have at least six Katies of my aquaintance, one of who is also actually a Jessica, but goes by her middle name. (Clearly, this is for orginiality). I also am attending university with a passel of Jasons, Tims, Robs, Craigs, Jameses, Sarahs, Erins, Maries and Megan/Meagan/Meghans . . . and for some reason Lawrences.

  • Marsha says:

    My husband's name is Steve. His father's name is Tony. Our oldest son's name is Steve, after well…you know. We have two nephews and two cousins named Tony. I have a brother-in-law named Steve and there are two Stephanies in the immediate family circle. When my daughter brought home a boyfriend named Anthony Steven who goes by Tony, I told her to throw him back and find someone with a new set of names to bring into the family.

  • Karen says:

    In my social group, there are at least a dozen guys named Chris, so they all have to have a modifier. Big Chris, Mean Chris, Jailbait Chris, French Chris, Danger Chris (just to name a few). I feel for Nosebleed Dylan, who will be stuck with that till he leaves for college.

  • KW says:

    I didn't have issues with my first name growing up but my last name was a doozie. I was adopted from South Korea and my father is Ukranian so of course I had a last name nobody could pronounce. All my teachers would mangle my last name at roll call on the first day of school and would look around probably expecting to see a caucasian girl respond. They were usually pretty shocked to see me in the desk. I even had a grade school teacher look at me in confusion and ask "Are you sure?"

    I do have to say that it helped my spelling skills growing up.

  • Megan says:

    I was blessed (?) with being named after both grandmothers and wound up with Margaret Ione for a name. Yeah, not so cool as a kid in the 70's and 80's, though I'm at peace with it now. First name was immediately shortened to "Meg" as an infant, as even my own grandmother hated her own first name, but back then, "Meg" wasn't a common name, so I spent the first few days of every class clarifying that it was Meg-like-Megan, not Mae or Peg or whatever other name they wanted to shorten my name to. Got to college and decided to just roll with "Megan" and that's stuck ever since.

    My symapthies go out to the Genevieves who get called every other G-name in the book…I play a character named Genevieve for a Renaissance Festival each year, and find the same problem happens even there. There's one guy who is SURE my "name" is Gwendolyn, pronounced "Gwen-doe-liiiine", and he says it loudly and proudly each time he sees me, which confuses people even more. *facepalm*

    At this point I just simply answer to both names to be done with it. :p

  • Jamie says:

    In high school, a girl and I who hung out in the same group were both named "Jamie" so we went by our last names. When I got to college, I was like, "Yes! I can be known by my normal name again!

    Then I started working at the college newspaper, where we had two Jamies (and at one time, we were editor and managing editor, respectively, of the paper, which made for some very confusing times for our receptionist) and FOUR guys named Chris on a relatively small staff. So I never got to reclaim my name, ha.

    Then, my friend Kathryn and I started dating two of the Chris guys – she married hers, and I'm marrying mine next month. We have to refer to them as "your Chris" and "my Chris" to cut down on confusion when we talk about the men.

  • Marian says:

    I didn't meet another Marian/on of my own generation until I was in college. Growing up, I would have *killed* to be a Jennifer or a Sarah. Better to go by a last initial then to be met with "Huh? Mary Anne?" all the time. But then when I did meet my name twin, I had to be Marian C., and I decided I didn't like it after all. You can't win.

    My husband has the opposite problem. He's David, and so was his dad, and so are several of his friends. In his family, his dad was Big Dave and he was Little Dave; but in his friend group, he was Big Dave and his (shorter, skinnier) friend was Little Dave. Caused a lot of confusion when he lived with that friend and his stepmom called asking for Little Dave.

  • Genny says:

    Bridgid, the only reason Genevieve might come in for a resurgence is because the Mattel people have recently got a hold of it and there is a "Princess Genevieve" barbie now. I own it, and it sits next to my Harley barbie. Harley Barbie could kick Genevieve Barbie's ass. Still, I like the kitsch.

    I don't think I'd ever have a problem if I had to go by middle name at University (though according to facebook there's only 4 Genevieves out of 11,000), since mine is Celeste which is also unusual. And I just remembered another few nicknames from high school that were basically assigned to me; Vi-vi and G-veve. And Gen-vee, occasionally.

  • Kate2 says:

    Heh. Being a Katherine of course I endured years of multiples. As well as friends and classmates when I was young – dozens of Sara(h)s, Jen(ny)s, Matts and Johns.

    I was Katie when I was little, then for a short time I was Katy, but I always hated both so I was Kate from high school onward.

    I went to a huge college (over 35,000 undergrads) and lived in the hugest dorm (over 2000 residents, largest non-military housing facility in the US at the time). On my floor of about 25 people were FIVE Katherines of various spellings – two Katies (Katie, and BBH for Blond Bitch from Hell, not to her face obviously), two Katherine's who went by their middle names, and me, the lone Kate.

    Unfortunately I also have a very common last name that also doubles as one of those androgynous first names – I have met boys and girls of all ages with my last name for a first name, and it's really annoying to be addressed by my last name… who has the name "Katherine" as a last name??? grrr. And in my huge college, via the "search people" function on the website, I discovered there were 6 Katherines, including me, with my same last name, and two others with my same last name and middle initial. I am truly generic. heh.

    I don't know if my mom thought she was being particularly clever, just I'm named after my great grandmother's sister. It's this big long family legend about how my G-gma wanted to name a kid after her sister but had three boys (resulting in my grandpa not having a name for almost a year – he was supposed to be Katherine!) and on down the generations everyone else is named after someone else, until finally we come to ME, FINALLY, named after my great-great aunt Katherine. (I also have a second cousin Katherine, same reason same story. but I was born first, so there.) Of course the woman in question was Katherine Bailey, and at the last minute my mom named me Katherine… Ann. *sigh*. It's okay though, I'm changing it when I change my last name – when I get married in the fall. :)

    In my fiance's family there are two brothers, each with three kids: both named their first son Angelo. Also? the brothers and their sons both look exactly alike, the Angelos are only a few months apart in age, and both of their wives look very much alike. It was months before I realized these were two different families. Their family is filled with Angelos and Marias, it's like that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding "and these are their children, Tony, Anita, and Nick." Except it's my big fat Italian family. ha.

  • kathy-with-a-k says:

    In my elementary school class of 65 kids, there were 4 girls called Kathy/Cathy (two Kathleens, one Katherine and one Catherine). No Kates or Katies, though. We also had 3 Mikes, 3 Jeffs, 3 Brians and 3 Nicoles. High school became even more fun; our graduating class of 291 included me and 6 other Kathy/Cathys, 7 boys named Brian, 6 Christophers and 6 Mikes, along with the requisite (this was 1994) dozen each of Heathers and Jennifers and Jaimes. For a brief time in elementary school, when all three of the Nicoles were in the gifted class with me, they tried to christen themselves as Nick, Nicky and Nicole, but that was even more confusing.
    We gave up on nicknames and initials after a while, and referred to everyone by their full name ("I was talking to JennRoss" or "Have you seen JaimeSteinberg?") I was always "Kathy-with-a-K," until my best friend started calling me Kat, which stuck with everyone except my family. I'm now the oldest woman named Kat I've ever encountered, although there are one billion teenage girls named Katherine who've chosen to be called Kat instead of Katie.

    My parents were not at the height of their game, creatively–I would have been Brian if I'd been a boy. My brother and sister fared slightly better–Ben and Becky. But mainly, I'm lucky my parents felt no need to pass down family names: my grandmother, born 1913, rest her soul, was Bertha, although at 5'1" and about 105 pounds, she carried it off okay–and called herself Bert.

  • mapia says:

    Too many Baileys – I blame Party of Five! Also the people who "spell creatively" must be stopped (sorry – huge pet peeve of mine).

  • Lydia says:

    I like my name; no one has it, and everyone seems to like it. An interesting side effect is that, when people forget my name, they ALWAYS call me Sylvia. Isn't that weird?

  • Shyra says:

    I wanted to add that when I had my son, in 1984, I named him Alec, after Sir Alec Guinness. A few years later, Alec Baldwin's career took off, so when people would say "Oh, like Alec Baldwin," I would just say "Yes." My son, however, will always respond to that with "No, like Alec Guinness." There seem to be a lot of Alecs who are a few years younger than my son, named, I suppose, for Mr. Baldwin (whose given name, for the record, is Alexander), rather than for Sir Alec Guinness.

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